Once Bitten, Twice—OH MY GIDDY AUNT!

Over the last several months, a Who fan would have had to have been hiding under a rock not to have heard the rumors that missing episodes of First and Second Doctor serials had been found. There was the hype, the counter-hype, the supposed confirmations, the supposed denials, back and forth for months. The lost episodes are like the Holy Grail of Doctor Who, so fans have understandably been by turns excited beyond words and bitterly disappointed.

This last week, the rumor surfaced again. Several outlets of various degrees of reliability broke the "news"—first the Mirror claimed on Sunday that all 106 had been found. On Monday the Radio Times reported that an unnamed number of "episodes" would be made available for purchase on Wednesday, then reversed and said the press conference wouldn't be till Thursday. On Tuesday, the BBC itself posted a story. Although fandom considered it all old news by then, having word come down from Auntie Beeb herself certainly seemed like the "official word" many of us had been waiting for before going off the deep end in ecstasy.

By Tuesday evening, there was a post on Deborah Watling's (who played Companion Victoria Waterfield to Patrick Troughton's Two) official website saying that she and Frazer Hines (Jamie McCrimmon) would "be helping the BBC to launch the newly found Dr.Who episodes" sometime on Thursday.

Even then, I was only barely ready to believe. I skeptically predicted at most two recovered episodes.

There have been so many times that this rumor has surfaced. It's bubbled up and been smacked back down, and each time I've either allowed or been unable to prevent myself from believing, at least a little bit. And I tell you, I'm as rabid as any fan—I would give a helluva lot to see even one missing episode returned, no matter how poorly thought of the serial. The ache in my heart at the very thought is intense.

But I've been burned so many times. After the first rumor was "debunked" months ago, I was crushed. "Once bitten, twice shy!" I told myself the next time. Even so, a glimmer of hope remained. Then it was denied again, and I chastised myself: "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!" Oh, how I wanted to believe it every single time! How sad and exasperated I was—"I told you it was a hoax..."—each time it was proven false!

Then came Thursday.

The BBC hosted a secretive press conference in the afternoon, UK time. Details were under an embargo until midnight. (The fan community immediately began taking bets on how long it would be until the details leaked.) Soon author Lance Parkin seemed to spill the beans, and actress Watling tweeted similar details. Then, about six hours before the embargo was supposed to end, The Northern Echo ran a full story (subsequently pulling it and posting an apology).

Suffice to say, by the time it all became official, we already knew. But knowing and seeing are two different things. Try it yourself, if you haven't yet. Here are the trailers for the two recovered stories, The Enemy of the World (which makes the me of two years ago extremely happy) and The Web of Fear. See if you can watch without tears, giggles of glee, or both:

They can be purchased now on iTunes at http://www.itunes.com/doctorwho. I've already done it, through happy tears. Finally, I believe.

And yes, I'll be reviewing them both.



I can't find them anywhere on iTunes. This is one of the reasons I hate iTunes. They have a horrible search engine! Do you have the specific link to each episode? When I click on the one you have above, I just get a general Doctor Who page, and the only Patrick Troughton episode that shows up, for example, is "The Krotons."

The only "The Enemy of the World" I can find is the 2002 audio version. It's so frustrating!! I will try to find links elsewhere on the Internet in the mean time. This is pretty exciting news. I know what you mean about getting your hopes up about that 106 number. At least it will now be 104!

By Tree (not verified)
mrfranklin's picture

Thank you, Chris! I thought about including those instead of the more general one, but didn't. Clearly an error in judgement.

I appreciate the save! ;)

By mrfranklin

Yes, thanks, Chris! I don't know why I couldn't find those using iTunes search engine! I find their system awful. I think that's why I prefer Amazon Instant Video, but as in this case, the episodes cannot be bought there. I appreciate you posting those links! Now I am excited to watch! And I am waiting for "Shalka" to arrive in the mail, too!

By Tree (not verified)
mrfranklin's picture

Oh, cool! I'll be interested to hear what you think of Shalka. Of all three, actually! :D

By mrfranklin

Be warned the trailer for Enemy of the World has several fairly major spoilers in it. That having been said, BOY do i want to see this! It seems to have an intensity a lot of Troughton's serials lacked

By Chuckyl (not verified)
mrfranklin's picture

I noticed that myself, but forgot to mention it. ~blush~ Thanks for pointing it out!

I've started with Enemy, and man, was it worth the wait. I love seeing Troughton in a dual role!!!

By mrfranklin
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